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Study Finds No Link Between Children Vaccination Schedule and Autism

Update Date: Mar 29, 2013 05:08 PM EDT
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A recent study found that children who receive the full schedule of vaccinations have no increased risk of autism, reinforcing the lack of connection between the two.

It is estimated that about 10% of parents skip or postpone their kids’ vaccination on fears that they are getting too many shots, too soon.

"This is a very important and reassuring study," said Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer at Autism Speaks, who wasn't involved in the new paper. "This study shows definitively that there is no connection between the number of vaccines that children receive in childhood, or the number of vaccines that children receive in one day, and autism."

Published Friday in the Journal of Pediatrics, this is the most recent of more than 20 researches done on the subject that has shown no connection between autism and vaccines, given either individually or as part of the standard schedule.

Unlike the previous studies done on this subject, this considered not just the number of vaccines, but a child's total exposure to the substances inside vaccines that trigger an immune response.

The authors of this study were looking to address the fear that multiple vaccines are "overwhelming" children's immune system, possibly contributing to long-term problems. Twenty years ago, children were vaccinated against nine diseases. Today, they're vaccinated against 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which funded the study.

“Even though children get more needle sticks, the next-generation vaccines they receive are easier on the immune system than those used two decades ago,” said Frank DeStefano, lead author of the new paper and director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Modern vaccines, DeStefano explained, are more sophisticated, and they use just a few critical particles — called antigens — to stimulate the immune system. These antigens, found on the surfaces of bacteria and viruses, spur the body to make antibodies, which block future infections.

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